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The Untold History of Japanese Game Developers book kickstarter


Anne Summers
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  • 2 weeks later...

After reading this, it seems to me that the woman was babysitting him throughout the whole project, making sure he attended to Japanese etiquette etc. that's way more than what an interpreter normally does.

I think, after reading that, that he deserved to be sued for libel. You dont go thrashing an interpreting agency publicly like he did, just on the basis of one bad interview out of hundreds of hours of work. Especially as the lady was not actually interpreting herself, she was just coordinating others, and she offered a refund/retry of the interview. Seems professional enough. Fair enough, the interpreter maybe was not suited for the job, but interpreting is like that: you dont get to retry, like you can rewrite a text.

I am interested in the book, but after reading that site Im not sure I want to support the author anymore. Maybe more will come out in the future, but after reading their exchanges, it seems to me that the guy behaved unprofessionally.

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Its a sad part of the whole thing really.

There was an email via Kickstarter at the weekend asking if folk would report her on Twitter for harassing him. I only know Johns side from the kickstarter updates, cant access that link as its blocked at work.

The books itself looks great though.

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Matteo, it was about more than one interview going wrong; the translator has been even more unprofessional and has been harassing backers of the book. I know John personally, from everything I have read based on both sides of the argument he is in the right.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...
  • 1 year later...

No time for this guy now, after he decided to go wailing to Gamergate about his troubles. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt over the whole fallout with the translator, and was going to pick up his book at some point, but going to one of the most popular pro-GG blogs to whine about "SJWs" shows distinct lack of moral character I'm afraid.

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Sounds like a total bellend.

To keep it brief: on a fundamental level I disagree with the democratisation of creativity. The creators of content should be above the petty demands of the plebeian masses; it is their vision which is the most important thing. At best I dislike bending my will for a single editor with crowdfunding I suddenly have a thousand wannabe editors who all demand that I fulfil their requests. When I dont do this they get irate. Once, when I didnt kowtow to a demand, someone said, I funded your project and now I regret it! Really? I checked their pledge they didnt fund it, they backed the lowest possible reward tier! I ended up refunding a load of people just to silence their incessant whining. I will never put myself in that kind of position again. Its like I tell everyone: I am not a democracy, I am an autocrat.

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Cringe.

"M: In the book you compare it to an RPG – which stats did you increase the most over your two months in Japan, and how is your character shaping up since your return?

J: It was closer to three months! Stat increases: Endurance, Fortitude, and Morality points. Since returning I’ve been thinking about changing Job Class, from Writer to Paladin or Cleric perhaps. The random encounter rate for Writers is laboriously high, while the Gold drops are inversely proportional and thus far too low. I want more Gold damn it – it’s always about the Gold! Right now I’m enjoying the post-game bonuses. Will I get a sequel…?"

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No time for this guy now, after he decided to go wailing to Gamergate about his troubles. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt over the whole fallout with the translator, and was going to pick up his book at some point, but going to one of the most popular pro-GG blogs to whine about "SJWs" shows distinct lack of moral character I'm afraid.

Bit of a moot point now anyway, as Amazon sellers are now listing the first book for eye-watering prices. It's a shame to see a book that broadens its perspective beyond the usual Nintendo and SEGA stories ending up like this.

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No time for this guy now, after he decided to go wailing to Gamergate about his troubles. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt over the whole fallout with the translator, and was going to pick up his book at some point, but going to one of the most popular pro-GG blogs to whine about "SJWs" shows distinct lack of moral character I'm afraid.

Missed this, what happened here?
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Considering you can get the 'gold' edition (identical to the original book, but with a less hideous cover) for around £20 from Amazon, I'm not sure what point you're trying to make there.

I didn't even see the Gold version on mobile, just the Kindle one. Cheaper than what I backed that tier for on KS too. Oh well!

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Missed this, what happened here?

He made claims to a pro-GG website that he was "blackballed by the SJW media", citing a sinister "leftist agenda" for the failure to get much if any coverage for his book, leading to poor sales. Overlooking of course all the flaws in the book (for all its often very interesting and unique content), lack of professional quality, and its niche subject area, which aren't exactly beneficial for media outlets deeming it worthy of coverage.
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  • 1 year later...

Man the author guy has gotten really bitter about this book in his latest update for Vol 3...

 

Quote

Firstly, Volume 3 won't be making it for Christmas. I have three pre-edited interviews to design, and three more raw interviews to edit and then design, for a total of less than 100 pages, but even pulling out all the stops I won't be able to finish it, and order a proof copy, and double check it, and then have it online, in time for people to buy for Christmas. So... January or February launch? People buy stuff after Christmas, right? Maybe get a loved one an Amazon voucher and suggest waiting for the book's arrival?

I dunno. I just want this project finished with. It's not made me a rich man, nor has it brought me accolades, or any kind of rewards, or anything really. And it's been half a decade in the making. Man, it'll soon be five years. That's longer than the entire duration of World War I. That was probably a teeny bit less pleasant though, what with the trench foot, and the rats, and all that mustard gas. Maybe. Still, coma victims get shorter terms than this. They also basically get to do nothing the entire time.

For Christmas I will be dropping the price of Volumes 1 and 2. After Christmas it will revert to normal.

Volume 1 and 2 will each be: 
$29.99 
£19.99

I ask anyone who still cares to talk about the books online. Tweet, Facebook it, do a review on YouTube or Amazon, or ask your favourite YouTube celebrity to review it. They can place footage of games while quoting amazing facts about them from the book, or something. I've asked this since the beginning of the project and nothing, not the highs nor the lows, has been able to go viral. No one cares. Which in a way proves what my old friend and editor Darran always told me when I was staff writer working on Retro Gamer: Some people might like Japanese games, but they're not as popular as I think they are, just because I happen to really love them.

Ultimately the last five years have been a colossal waste of my time and resources. All these pointless words which no one reads, apart from a few academics and a niche group of fans. There's been such a large influx of videogame books in the last half decade and, despite most of them not coming anywhere close to documenting the volume of facts I've unearthed, they're all getting people's attention. They're getting big reviews in big fancy newspapers. (How is it something like Console Wars by Blake Harris ended up being reviewed by major tabloids, despite him admitting to fabricating "factual events", whereas I was not?) They're getting on lists of great game books. They're getting high sales. Their authors are getting nominated for awards. Maybe they're not and they're just putting on a false successful front... I don't do that - it's not how I roll, goddammit. Harlan Ellison's short story, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, has this great monologue by the machine, on what it thinks of the humans. That's how I feel about these books. When the Kickstarter project succeeded, I expected much, much more from them.

Here's some comics I had commissioned for Volume 3. The rough pencil drafts so you can later compare to the finished things.

You know what's even better than comics though? Removing all context for them, so you can speculate as to what kind of crazy shenanigans they're illustrating.

Now, go forth and encourage sales and web coverage.

 

I gave up after the first one to be honest, don't even think I read it all in the end.

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I feel like John was the researcher on a vast project that he didn't realise needed an editor and a writer too. I waded through a bit of the first volume but there's just no context to any of it. People talking about how important certain games were, without much explanation. You could do a book like this about say, British 80s development, and sell it to British readers and it would be fine. We all grew up with the hardware, we played the games when they were new, we live in that culture. I know fuck all about Japan, I don't know most of the hardware, I don't have first hand experience of the games. I'm doing second hand research by reading this book, I'm not being told anything.

 

As an archival project it's an incredible achievement. As a thing to sit and read it's exhausting and impenetrable.

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Wasn't there accusations of stalking and harassment against the people who helped translate the first volume? Whatever happened with that?

 

11 hours ago, matt0 said:

I waded through a bit of the first volume but there's just no context to any of it.

 

I often thought his articles in Retro Gamer lacked focus - they seemed to just spurt facts out and never really flowed very well. I wasn't a fan of his 'voice', certainly.

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8 hours ago, Nush said:

He soured the launch of the first book with all the legal and drama shenanigans. Stuff came out about his personality and how he was "difficult" and this last update from him backs it up. I read the first book but most of the games and early Japanese micros I had no interest in and the book didn't clue me in about what they were taking about. His interviews questions were simple like he was reading off a list and at the same time too many instances of him being a gushing fanboy. The worst thing was his obsession with unreleased games and then patting himself on the back when one that may not have even got past prototype stage was mentioned for such a great discovery. Mostly though it was not the Japanese games I was interested in.

 

I didn't buy the 2nd book, no intention of getting the 3rd and I would not recommend it.

 

It's a real missed opportunity. I'd love to know more about what was happening in Japan on home computers as opposed to consoles through the 80s and 90s. But like I said, this book is just archiving information with no sense of how to present it to the reader.

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I came across a copy of the first one lying around and thought I'd have a look but found it utterly impenetrable.

I think the author lost a lot of goodwill from the community when he went crying to the #gamergate babies about the fact that a nasty woman was getting uppity with him about something or other. I remember seeing he'd written a post for one of their terrible websites where they cry about how oppressed gamers are and what a superior culture Japan is. Seemed pretty clear he was hoping for a bit of mob justice. Which hopefully he didn't get. 

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